The iPad3 comes into the family

Sorry, I couldn’t resist making this dramatic!! This sort of title is reserved when a baby arrives, but the iPad is no less of a baby.

After all that Apple has given to me I was long overdue to return something back to Apple; so I decided to buy the iPad3 no-matter-what. I place the online order the day it was announced. My iPad arrived on the dot on March 16th 2012 after some concerns about delays. The UPS tracking indicated it was shipped from somewhere in China and had reached Alaska on the 10th, then Kentucky on 11th. So it was sitting there for nearly five days before delivery. The delay news wouldn’t affect us, I thought as this iPad had personally engraving on it. They can’t redirect it and sell it to someone else just because of a short of supply. I was convinced that I will be one of those lucky one-in-a-three-million to get one on the first day.

The package had to be signed; I ran to the door and the UPS delivery man was indeed complimentary – ‘So you were waiting on this one, eh?’. The packaging was perfect with no Styrofoam at all (I hate those things, doesn’t feel healthy to touch them). The white package reflected Apple’s design motto – keep it simple and understated, but was very attractive. It is like those moment when you first fall in love – you like the girl because of the things you want to see in her.

Now I have seen YouTube videos where the geek has this video on and opening the packaging and lays it all out and goes over each on of items in the package – here is the adapter, and then holds the product to the camera and goes over the buttons, etc. I am not going to do that! The package all but had three items – the iPad, the charger and the cable – apart from the manual. The ipad itself reminds me of a high-tech version of the slate ‘tablet’ I used to take when I first attended school over 40 years ago, only it was much shinier. I plugged in the charger and after a bit, switched on the beauty (press that one button near the bottom of the device) and after a few steps (maybe 3 or 4) of entering name, Apple account and password, the familiar home page appeared. I was all set!!

Now after a week’s worth of usage, I wanted to share some of the things about the iPad that I find.

1) The main reason I got the iPad was to have a smaller hand-held device when I sing Karaoke. Little did I realize that the iOS (the operating system that runs the iPad) runs Flash. The site I use for signing is all Flash. That was a BIG bummer. I can see why iOS doesn’t support Flash (it generates a lot of heat for one) but that isn’t part of this discussion. I was hosed, the iPad was almost useless to me. It was now a smaller laptop which I could use for browsing or email. But I wouldn’t give up. I downloaded a couple of apps – the Photon browser, the logmein app and one more. The logmein app is a remote desktop software. My idea was to run the songs on my laptop and see it on the iPad while remoting in. The experience was not just horrible but outright ridiculous for streaming. The video steaming – that I could see; but there was so much lag in the audio the lyrics and the background music wouldn’t go together. This was true even with another remoting app (Splashtop). Thus came to end my idea of using a handy device while singing.

2) Over the next few day I did some more research and gave up on the idea of using the iPad for singing. Maybe a $99 Android tablet or a $199 Kindle Fire? I have up on this idea too as my Samsung Infuse 4G smart phone is fairly decent in size for the purpose. So how do I use the iPad now? It had 64GB on it and after all with the accessories I ordered (the camera kit, the dock, the smart cover, the wireless keyboard) I had run a tab of over $900 – good enough to buy a great laptop. You can’t compare a laptop and iPad by cost alone. The utility functions of the iPad has a separate space. In the past we used to think the workstation was too big and the world invented the laptop. Then the laptop was portable – you could take it anywhere. Little did the manufacturers realize that some geeks have to carry a work laptop and a personal laptop when they travel. And after becoming more of a couch potato in the past decade, we have found that carrying the laptop is also not-so-portable! This is where the iPad comes in! It is much smaller and has targeted functions. Most of us use the laptop for browsing or email. If you could do that when sitting on the couch or even the toilet or the bed, then we could avoid trips to the computer desk or avoid having to be slouched over the desk for extended periods of time. This is where the tablets come in. Apple’s Steve Jobs, the genius he is, had started a tablet (called the Tablet) back in the early 90s but the consumer wasn’t ready for it; he/she was more enamoured by the PC revolution that was just getting to pervade homes. With the iPad, he perfected it and has made this technology irresistible and indispensable to the common man. I wouldn’t be surprised, in fact it is true, that this year tablet sales exceed that of laptops for the first time. So if you haven’t yet bought Apple stock, you should even at $600/share.

3) The retina display – there isn’t enough said about this. If you aren’t aware, the iPad’s display is much sharper than the best HD TV out there. The HD videos (I checked out Anisutide from Mungaru Male) was the best I have seen and made watching video on a smaller screen so much more watchable.
4) The photo library. I started upload all of my 20k+ photos to the iPad using iTunes. iTunes would start and after 45 minutes or so would come up with an error. I tried this many times using different cable after reading the cable could be the problem. I tried uploading a resized version of the photo library and that failed too. I even bought a $2.99 app (PhotoSync); this was so slow I gave up – the rate it displayed indicated 20 hours of time to get the upload done. Finally I decided to upload one folder of photos at a time. I organize my photos by year and then by month. This worked and after starting the process Saturday afternoon, I finally had all my photos on the iPad by Sunday evening! The iPhoto application on the iPad is the best photo organizer I have seen. I used Adobe Photoshop, but the ease of use of iPhoto is unparalleled.

5) Digital photo frame: You can turn the iPad into a digital photo frame. Even at the lowest price – $499, it will be an expensive DPF, BUT it is worth it. The photos (even the resized ones) look so sharp and the randomization of the photos is perfect. The Pandigital photo frame I have hardly picks up all the photos from my 20K+ library even after a year and half of use. The iPhoto/iPad combination easily showed pictures from the 90s that I had almost given up hope of seeing routinely. This is where a dock comes useful. You can place the iPad on the dock, have it being charged and also support it so that the iPad is at a good viewing/standing angle for a photo frame. The smart cover also does the job well. With the dock, you can only place the iPad vertically but with the smart cover, the iPad sits horizontally which suits better for most of the photos as they are in landscape mode.

6) The quality of music from the iPad – there is nothing to complain about, but I use my smart phone for music more.

7) I am not a big fan of camera on the iPad. It is too unwieldy for this purpose. The smart phone is okay for a quick snap when we are in the moment, but being an avidly interested photographer, I prefer the cameras.

There you go, my first week with the iPad!

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